Just the Facts, Ma’am

It is a fact that President Obama originally proposed the sequester. It is a fact that Congressional Republicans voted in favor of it.

Why don’t they stop the posturing, finger-pointing, and counting coup and, if they don’t like the sequester, change it?

The question is practically self-answering. Because posturing, finger-pointing, and counting coup were always the point of the sequester.

Meanwhile, can someone explain to me how increasing taxes by $160 billion a year does no economic harm while cutting spending by $85 billion per year will precipitate a recession?

18 comments… add one

  • Icepick

    Meanwhile, can someone explain to me how increasing taxes by $160 billion a year does no economic harm while cutting spending by $85 billion per year will precipitate a recession?

    Because they said so. Now quit yer bitchin’, coffee break’s over, so back on yer head.

  • steve

    But the debt………

    Steve

  • Drew

    “It is a fact that President Obama originally proposed the sequester. It is a fact that Congressional Republicans voted in favor of it.”

    It is a fact that President Obama originally proposed the sequester. It is a fact that Congressional Republicans AND DEMOCRATS voted in favor of it.”

    There, fixed it. This is all silliness. Of course it was designed to kick the can down the road and resort to political posturing. But calling it “Obama’s sequester” isn’t agregious when one considers that Obama proves once again he has no leadership ability or any other MO but to take end of 2012 tax increases and then disingenuously demand that “Congress do its job” while demanding yet more tax increases……….all while villifying any spending restraint with the tried and true “Republicans want to poison children and throw grandma out in the snow.”

    The guy is a one trick pony: tax and spend. Dr. Taylor at OTB wrote an essay awhile back about how Obama was really a middle of the road guy. I’d like to meet Dr. Taylor’s dealer……

  • Drew

    “Meanwhile, can someone explain to me how increasing taxes by $160 billion a year does no economic harm while cutting spending by $85 billion per year will precipitate a recession?”

    Ask Carney. He’ll give you a load of horse manure…….I mean, “an explanation.” (How that guy is able to do what he does with a straight face is beyond me. I know he has a job to do, but I didn’t think being clownish was part of the description.)

  • jan

    Given that one of the President’s men, Lew, originally proposed the idea of sequestration, that the majority of republicans eventually voted for it, that both parties thought sequestration would never come to pass because of the threats it posed, which party leader or party has most actively been involved in addressing the sequestration trigger?

    Has the President or his men come up with any alternative cuts?

    Has Harry Reid and the Senate produced any serious bills addressing sequestration?

    What about the House? Have they submitted any ideas to thwart sequestration?

  • Icepick

    Is it $85 billion on one year or over two years? If it’s 85 bil in one year, that would be less than 8% of what the DEFICIT was last fiscal year. Why am I supposed to believe that if the sequester goes through the government is going to have to lay off all civilians in the DoD and the Air Traffic Controllers, et cetera? It’s not even a big part of the deficit, much less the whole damned thing.

  • Ice,

    I refer you to the writings of on Dr. Robert Higgs, specifically Crisis and Leviathan.

    If you don’t have a good crisis, make one up. Hence all the hand wringing over $85 billion in cuts.

  • Icepick

    Steve V., I believe we’re heading for some nasty crises. This sequestration nonsense is silliness, though.

  • Don’t worry Ice, many parasites often over feed on their host killing them and ultimately themselves….

    HAND.

  • Andy

    Icepick,

    It’s because of the way the sequestration law was written – almost every discretionary government account and program must be cut by a certain amount – that includes payrolls. The only option, given the other laws in effect, are furloughs and eliminating temporary workers.

    We got official notice today that the DoD civilian workforce will see 22 days of furloughs – it will be one day a week through the rest of the FY – in essence a 20% pay cut from late-March/early April through September. Other agencies besides the DoD are similarly affected and will also see furloughs. Again, the law was intentionally written this way. Many defense contracts will not have adequate funding. The services will have to convince contractors to take IOU’s, or pay penalties, or renegotiate contracts. Ops and Maintenance are also being cut which is why the Navy is delaying the deployment of an aircraft carrier. It’s like someone coming in and saying you have to cut every household expense by 10%. The amount you owe for your rent hasn’t changed, but now you are short 10% and can’t pay it all. You’re not allowed to find the money from, for example, the German porn budget. It’s not the cuts themselves that are necessarily the problem, it’s their inflexibility.

    Yes, both sides voted for this law, believing they could use it as leverage to get concessions from the other side. So far, neither side is blinking….

  • Drew

    steve made the obvious but correct point a post or two ago that across the board cuts was a horrible way to go about this. That said, I’m a firm beleiver that you live by your mistakes. Obama wanted this because he thought he could out demagogue “Congress,” meaning, with media support “the Republicans.” What with his “balanced approach crappola.”

    I say hold firm. You rollover and Obama will put you over the barrel again. There is blood on all their hands, but Obama has been getting away with murder. Time to expose this empty suit.

  • TastyBits

    It’s Bush’s fault.

  • Icepick

    The amount you owe for your rent hasn’t changed, but now you are short 10% and can’t pay it all. You’re not allowed to find the money from, for example, the German porn budget.

    What the Hell? I thought that was why we HAD a German porn budget! Also why we had $400 hammers.

    It’s not the cuts themselves that are necessarily the problem, it’s their inflexibility.

    And these are the idiots the stupid voters just re-elected. I wouldn’t believe the United States of America could be run this badly if I wasn’t living through it.

    Yes, both sides voted for this law, believing they could use it as leverage to get concessions from the other side. So far, neither side is blinking….

    Gutless, brainless elites.

    And thank you for the explanation Andy, that was edifying.

  • Icepick

    Drew, the problem with holding firm, on either side, is that it is a criminally stupid way to do things. The whole lot of them should be removed from office, Obama for putting this idiotic scheme forward, and every Congressman and Senator that voted for it. Government by chicken has got to be the worst way to run the country ever implemented.

  • Drew

    ice

    I’m sympathetic to your comment, but as a veteran of playing chicken in my world I’d tell you a) removing the players is not a viable option – that’s an empirical fact and we are paying the price, b) the guy who doesn’t blink wins – and we are paying the price.

    Backing down is not my forte. It can get messy at times. But giving in is messy all the time. Look at our debt and annual deficit.

  • jan

    This pretty much sums up the next R and D budget battle, in terms of how many people see the sequester fiaso:

    How congress became the boy who cried wolf, or how I learned to stop worrying and hate the sequester.

    The latest fight — over what is termed “sequester” inside the Beltway and which politicos and reporters alike have repeated ad infinitum without much explanation to their constituents and readers — is in fact just another continuation of the ongoing budget fights over which Republicans and Democrats have threatened government shutdowns for more than two years.

    Eighteen months ago, after months of threats and posturing, President Obama suggested and Congressional Republicans and Democrats agreed to create a magical deadline to get their [stuff] together or else be forced to explain a rash of immediate spending cuts to the American people. Both sides agreed to the deal, figuring that the other would face a humiliating defeat in the 2012 elections; instead, the elections insured a continuation of the dysfunctional status quo and the continued unwillingness of anyone to behave like a political leader rather than a political brawler.

    And yet, somehow, very few people outside the echo chamber can be forced to care. Why? Because we’ve all seen this little one-act play out before, enough times that it’s hard to take it seriously. There’s no dramatic filibuster where a Senator stands for hours reading from a cookbook or The Federalist Papers, no video footage of GSA workers being locked out of their offices or postal sorting machines sitting idle, no actual effect on anyone’s day-to-day life, the political rhetoric on the Hill or the situation of the federal budget. We all assume that they’ll sit around pointing fingers and calling one another names like a bunch of school kids until the very last minute, when they’ll hammer out another reasonably foolish compromise that keeps the government open for another six months without solving the fundamental dispute, pat themselves on the back and go back to naming post offices and arguing about gun control and trying to land tortured one-liners on the Sunday talk shows until they’re forced to repeat the posturing all over again.

    It’s tiresome, it’s foolish, it’s (deliberately, one starts to assume) difficult for most Americans to follow, let alone care about, and it does nothing to solve any of the varying problems identified as such for either side. And the more they do it, they more they’ll earn the disapproval and disrespect of Americans on all sides of the political spectrum.

  • jan

    It’s also kind of amazing the remarks Obama has made in the past, and how they diametrically oppose those he makes in the future. Like on November, 21, 2011 he was all in for sequestration, and the cuts mandated in the proposal put forth by his WH:

    “Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off ramps on this one.”

    Now, only 15 months later, it has become a ‘crisis’ of immense proportions if the republicans don’t get on board and ‘undo’ these automatic spending cuts! Huh?

  • Drew

    jan

    I used to think the two most dishonest presidents of my lifetime were Nixon and Clinton. But its Obama by an Indiana country mile. A liar and pure demagogue.

    We deserve better given the gravity of our finacial issues.

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